Renovated Henley St. Bridge to Include Bicycle Lanes

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Renovated Henley St. Bridge to Include Bicycle Lanes

Posted: 02/11/2010
The Tennessee Department of Transportation, in response to a request from the City of Knoxville, will include bicycle lanes on a renovated Henley Street Bridge. 
"In response to your request, I am directing our Design Division staff to revise the final striping plans for the Henley Street Bridge to include five travel lanes, two bicycle lanes and sidewalks," TDOT Commissioner Gerald F. Nicely stated in a letter to Mayor Bill Haslam on Wednesday.

Haslam had sent a letter to Nicely on Feb. 2, formally asking the TDOT commissioner to revise the department's initial plan to include six traffic lanes on the bridge. The Henley Bridge will be rebuilt and widened as part of a rehabilitation project expected to begin in 2011.

The majority of residents who attended two recent public meetings, hosted by the city and attended by TDOT officials, about the upcoming project had expressed strong support for including bike lanes on the bridge as well as better pedestrian connectivity to downtown. 
"We're very pleased about TDOT's decision to stripe the bridge for bike lanes," Haslam said, "and we appreciate TDOT's willingness to work with the city and make changes based on recommendations from our Engineering Department and on what residents wanted to see happen on the Henley Bridge." 
City engineers had noted during the meetings that re-striping the bridge allows the flexibility to transition back to six traffic lanes if that were to become necessary to accommodate increased traffic in the future - something that would not be possible if the sidewalks were widened.

The Henley Bridge currently has five traffic lanes.

The 80-year-old bridge will be closed for up to three years during the project in which TDOT will dismantle it down to the arches and then rebuild it. Without the rehabilitation TDOT would have to consider placing weight limits on what is the main connector between South Knoxville and the rest of the city.

The upcoming project raised concerns among residents and business owners, particularly on the south side of the river, about the bridge's configuration after it is reopened.

In addition to the widely-held sentiment in favor of the inclusion of bike lanes, the city's engineering department also took into account projections of increased traffic on the bridge in future years, the need to move forward with the project and the requirement that any revisions adhere to the requirements of the state's Historic Preservation Office before making the recommendation to TDOT.